Anyone else ever do their own?

Back in the late 90s, every now and then we’d bust out a dubbing deck and pick something to have a go at, riffing ad lib, no scripting. We weren’t brilliant, but we had a few moments, having had a go at Generation X (with a scenery-chewing Matt Frewer), Street Fighter (‘Universal Pictures presents’ – “The movie that killed Raul Julia!”), and a few others that I can’t recall off the top of my head. Wish I knew where those tapes were.


I gave it a try once… emphasis on once. I was not, very good.

But I gave it my all, wrote the script, came up with the voices. I had a home studio with a 16 track recorder, so I could do all those riffs in a different voice on different tracks and (try) to interact with the other me’s.

I randomly bought a cheap DVD for a movie that I’d never seen before, but looked riffable, “It! The Terror from Beyond Space”

I remember my wife watching it with me when it was done, and she was mostly impressed by the voices (“I didn’t know you could do voices?”) There was a sprinkling of chuckles and one big guffaw… which wasn’t even for a riff, just a sound.

Remember Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man, and how he’d say “Fliber-de-doo!” or some such nonsense. Well, when one character peaks his head into a vent and sees something shocking, he kind of pouts out his bottom lip, like the grumpy old man… so I do that voice and say “Fliber-de-doo” and my wife loses it.

So I had one bright shining moment, where I made my audience of one, truly laugh out loud.

The tape is buried in a box in storage, watched once, and never again (it might have turned out better if I’d had my brother with me, he’s pretty funny and we tend to work well together on creative projects)


Wait, that was a REAL thing??? I thought that was just a fever dream that I had…

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I made a Rifftrax for David Lynch’s Dune. As far as I can tell, not one single person ever bought it, but I’m still kind of proud of it. One of my favorites is when Paul (Kyle MacLachlan) is getting tortured by the pain box: “Now I’m seeing myself stuck on Desperate Housewives for four years! No, make it stop!”


Me and my brother never did a video of us doing any riffing, but we would riff anything that came on TV…shows, commercials, music videos…


I’ve done it before, But without recording… in fact I was riffing before I even Knew what riffing was…

Most recent ones I can think of are when I rewatched the First Harry Potter Movie (Harry gets a broomstick and then looks to Mcgonagal, “So that’s where our Tax Dollars are going…”)

and me watching Jaws (every thing that’s slightly wrong with the town… “That’s very Important for the Tourism industry”)

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I made an iRiff for RiffTrax riffing on the original Terminator (yeah, not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination). I like to think I did pretty good on it. Writing was the toughest part, having to play through various sections several times looking for the humor. Almost came to resent the movie (I think I understand why Best Brains got so mad at films sometimes). Not having the Shadowrama made it easy to record riffs (though it did take longer than expected, having to do some takes over and over…really respect them for that). I’d love to do more but the time it takes really makes it tough, especially for just a hobby. But hey, if you wanna hear how we did, check it out here: SAPPTrax Sacks The Terminator! | RiffTrax

Here’s the “sample” we made for promoting it: SAPPTrax Sacks The Terminator at - YouTube


I regret to inform you that you didn’t hallucinate that. XD


Are iRiffs still being done? Or is it just closed to folks who hadn’t already done some?

In college, a small group of us would watch a show together called Psi Factor. It had some problematic writing and a poor grasp of science - which is what I love about cheesy sci-fi movies - so we would sit around riffing and making jokes on the fly. There were four of us, so the comments came pretty quickly and we all had some laughs. As bad as the show was, I looked forward to watching it every week because we all had so much fun.

I tried to riff on a drama movie I didn’t want to watch, but then my mom wasn’t so impressed, so she shutted me up.

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My mom went through a stretch where if she could have, she would have run It’s a Wonderful Life on a 24x7 loop starting the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

That ground to a halt when the rest of the family unleashed the commentary, led by Dad. :smiley:

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Yes, I did a bunch of live shows with the group I founded called Movie Scrapple. We did live improvised riffs. Here’s a short indicative of our work. I did do one self aware riff callback to an MST riff in this one with “Oh, it an X signature production” which I got from Night of the Blood Beast.

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I’ve never recorded it, but even as recently as the past weekend a friend and I caught a super early showing (at the AMC theater we both used to work at) of Black Widow, so that we could riff it to shreds. It’s an extremely common practice, for my circle of friends.


I have occasionally worked with a local improv group and we have riff a few shorts that are up on youtube.

Fun stuff.

But out of respect I won’t pimp them here.

I did a few iRiffs under The Movie Asylum. Our best effort was our first, Halloween 2, which I still have fond memories of making to this day.

My partner and I will riff sometimes if we’re getting sick of a movie, or if it’s one we’ve seen a million times (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is always good cannon fodder).

Back at the dawn of the internet when I was still in school (1995 or thereabouts?) I wrote a few scripts of Joel and the Bots riffing fanfic (that actually was a thing for a while). Those are probably still floating around somewhere. I’m pretty sure the riffs are cringe, but I remember being proud of my host segments. I tried to make each script follow the show format as closely as possible.

Yeah, I’ve dabbled in it. It’s hard to do it on the spot. I’ve tried writing scripts and recording myself (and others when I can rope them in) and editing it together – whew, it’s hard and time consuming!

I would recommend improv classes if you’ve never taken them. It kind of gives you ways to play with other folks and think in different ways that made riffing a skill I can do. I think even more importantly it can serve to diminish the voice of self doubt that I had before I said something. Some internal editing is good, but not when it gets in the way of all of your ideas.

Other skills that improv helped me develop that work with riffing are working with a scene partner (which could be the movie or your other differs) and the concept of giving and taking focus.


Does laughing out loud like Crow when El Santo arrives in “Samson vs the Vampire Women” count when you do it in the theatre when Quinto’s Spock does the “KHAAAAAAAN” shout after Pine’s Kirk dies?

I also remember snarkily saying “What a co-inky-dink” when Christian Slater’s character in Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and nearly getting kicked out by a neighbour’s older siblings for that one.

I likely need to pick my moments better.